What is Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)?
An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that:
- Reduces excess sagging skin that droops downward
- Tightens and smoothes the underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm
- Reduces localized pockets of fat in the upper arm region
Fluctuations in weight, growing older and heredity can cause your upper arms to have a drooping, sagging appearance. This is a condition that cannot be corrected through exercise.
- Length of Procedure: About 1.5 hours
- Anesthesia: Light General – outpatient procedure
- Side Effects: Temporary pain. Swelling, soreness, numbness of upper arm skin, bruising, tiredness for several weeks or months.
- Risk: Blood clots. Infection. Poor healing resulting in conspicuous scarring or skin irregularity. Need for further surgery.
- Recovery: Patients should expect to return to work within 5 – 7 days.
- Exercise: Patients should abstain from rigorous exercise for the first 2 weeks following the procedure, after which they may return to low impact exercise increasing to moderate impact at 6 weeks, and a return to full exercise intensity at 8 weeks.
- Fading and Scar Improvement: Depending upon the health of the underlying tissue, the patient should begin to notice a reduction in the appearance of the surgical scar in 6 to 12 months.
- Bruising: Localized bruising of the area will be noticeable for 2-4 weeks following the procedure.
- Swelling: Moderate to significant swelling of the area should be expected for up to 4 weeks following the initial procedure with a reduction and dissipation over the course of the next 2 to 3 months.
- Recovery: the patient can expect to begin noticing improvement within 2 weeks, with a noticeable improvement in appearance at 4 weeks and continued subtle/soft improvements for 6 months.
- Duration of Results: Permanent
- Office Visits: 1st Post Op Visit 3 to 5 days / 2nd Visit 7 to 10 days Anticipated # of office visits: 3 to 5 in the first 3 months then yearly.
- Pain Relief: Ibuprofen and narcotics as needed.
Arm lift surgery may be right for you if the underside of your upper arms are sagging or appear loose and full due to excess skin and fat.
Incisions are generally placed on the underside of the arm so that they are hardly visible with the arm exposed, and may extend from the underarm (axilla) to just above the elbow. Excess fat may be directly excised or treated with liposuction. Depending on your specific condition, incisions may be more limited. Then, underlying supportive tissue is tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm. The smoother, tighter contours that result from brachioplasty are apparent almost immediately following your procedure, although there will likely be swelling and bruising.